To be formed into the image of Jesus
We often talk about “following Jesus” and think our friends know what we mean but more often than we’d care to admit, they simply may not. Around here we like to think following Jesus - actually being with and becoming like Jesus - flows out of these three things:
Being present to & with Jesus
Practicing the way of Jesus; and
Proclaiming his good news.
When we talk about following Jesus, we’re talking about a “way” of life, in community, centered around Jesus and his teachings. Therefore, formation into the image of Jesus (2 Cor. 3:18) does not occur merely on a Sunday, but across our whole lives; as we’re gathered and as we’re scattered.
Jesus is not afraid of our mess. Therefore, we can present our whole selves to Jesus, confident he will not turn away; (Heb. 4:16; Eph. 3:12) rather, in grace he is present with us as he restores our humanity through the power of his spirit.
Jesus has the audacity to promise nothing short of full-on life transformation, and yet so many of us see a gap between Jesus’ words of promise and our lived experience. What if following Jesus actually meant living lives that look like Jesus’ life? Is this even possible? Answer: Yes. As we enter into the rhythms of Jesus’ life - prayer, rest, devotion, etc. - in community transformation really does occur.
In a letter to first century followers of Jesus, the apostle John wrote this, “We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.” It’s words like these that not only call our collective attention to Jesus’ power to restore all things; but our participation in God’s work.
In all this we pray that over time, in community, through the practices, teaching, and the power of the Holy Spirit we be transformed into the image of our great God and Savior Jesus the Christ.